An Oireachtas And A Feis. What's The Difference?

Article featured in Diddlyi Magazine.
11.08.10

I’ve only been to one Oireachtas, so I don’t have much experience but now that another one is approaching, I definitely feel much more prepared for the competition this time. The Shelley School of Irish Dance is taking more dancers to The Western Region Oireachtas than ever before. Now that I’ve been to an Oireachtas, I know more what to expect and how different it can be from a Feis.

For those of you who have never been to an Oireachtas and are planning on attending one this year, here are a few differences I’ve noticed between an Oireachtas and a Feis:

1. Think HUGE!
Yes, a Feis can be crowded, but I have never seen so many Irish dancers all in one place and so many different teams dressed in matching track suits. At an Oireachtas you’ll see a massive amount of Irish dancers, all crowding the halls and lined up by the hundreds to compete.

2. All Levels are Mixed.
There is no separation between Preliminary and Open Championship. It’s all mixed together! This surprised me at first. You never know if the dancer next to you is in Prizewinner, Preliminary, or Open Championship. You could even be competing against a previous World qualifier.

3. You Will Only Perform a Set Dance if You Recall.
Every competitor will compete a hard and soft shoe dance, but only half the dancers are recalled to perform their Set Dance. Last year I did not recall and I have set a goal to do my best to get a recall this year.

Last year was a really fun Oireachtas for me! It was intense and a little stressful, but I also had a lot of fun with the other Shelley dancers and enjoyed cheering on the Shelley 8-Hand Teams. The Western Region Oireachtas 2010 is being held in Sacramento, California in 2 weeks. Wish me luck!

Are you competing in an Oireachtas this year?

Article written by Shelly Allen
Photo by Shelly Allen Photography

TAGS: championship, competition, dance, feis, Irish, Oireachtas, recall, Region, school, Shelley, team, Western

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